This time of year connects three events that have shaped Israel’s destiny as a nation. The first event was last Sunday, when the Holocaust was memorialized in a series of ceremonies all over the world, including Chicago. Secondly, Yom Hazikaron – The Day of Remembrance - will be commemorated this Sunday evening, April 14. Thirdly, the Day of Independence will be celebrated this Monday evening, April 15.
The Holocaust took the lives of nearly six million Jews. Actually, Hitler was not very far from his goal to put an end to Jewish life, at least in Europe. But last Sunday, we commemorated not only the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, but also the memory of the Jewish underground in Ghetto Warsaw. Seventy years ago, brave souls decided that if they had to die, at least they would do so with dignity. And they did.
Three years after the end of the Holocaust, Jews were forced again to fight for their lives. 6,000 Israelis out of a population of 600,000 (One percent!) were killed during the War of Independence. However, the new dawn saw the establishment of the State of Israel for which we are celebrating today 65 years.
So, is there a message?
I think there is. I think the message is that this experiment - known as "The State of Israel" - is too dear, too expensive and too important for us to make mistakes that might put the state in danger. Throughout the year, we may have our differences and sometimes problems with the State of Israel. However, let us - at least once a year – put all our differences aside and unite around the one state that make us all more secure, more dignified and more full of pride. There is no other state in the world that managed to achieve so much in the midst of so many challenges. Indeed, a shining city on a hill.
Happy Independence Day,